Thailand People – Learn About Their Culture
While Thai is the official language of the Thailand people, there are different dialects spoken in various parts of the country. The Thai language has links to Sanskrit, Pali and the old Khmer languages and some of the words are common with these languages. The Central Thai dialect is the most widely spoken, and this is what you will hear in the streets of Bangkok. It is also spoken by other people from Thailand as it is the language of instruction in most schools and universities. However, as a tourist you do not need to know the language as English is spoken in cities and tourist centres. If you are travelling to the rural areas, English would be spoken at most hotels, but it is advisable to carry a Thai phrasebook.
Most Thailand people are Buddhists, and Buddhism is the main religion in the country. Around 95% of the population are Buddhists. Of this, the majority belong to the Theravada group. The other group of Buddhists in Thailand, the Mahayana group, are a minority. While Theravada Buddhism is the official religion of the country, there are also other religions that are practised by the people of Thailand. Of the 5% that comprise other religious groups, the largest group is the Muslims, followed by the Christians. There are also a few Hindus and Sikhs. Theravada Buddhism, which is the main Thailand religion, has some influences from Hinduism as well as folk beliefs and this can be seen in many of the rituals and festival that are celebrated in the country.
Due to the Buddhist influences, Thailand people are gentle and mild mannered. It is best to follow a similar approach while dealing with them, even if you are trying to strike a bargain at a street market. The traditional form of greeting, Wai, involves a small bow with the palms pressed together. While interacting with the Thais, it is best to do away with the western handshake and opt instead for this greeting that is part of the Thailand culture.
Overall, the people in Thailand are hardworking and friendly. If you wake up in the early hours of the morning, you will still find people busy at work, either in the markets or in the fields. Similarly, you will find most Thailand people smiling, and even if they are not, if you smile first, you can be assured that you will be rewarded with a smile in return.
This practice of smiling is what makes tourists rate Thailand as one of the most hospitable destinations in the world.
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